At this point, the divorce of superstar couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt has lasted about as long as they were together as a married couple. Interestingly, the Los Angeles County judge who married them in France in 2014 is also overseeing the divorce. His position jurisdiction over the case has been extended until the end of next year.
The movie stars once dubbed "Brangelina" have been battling over the terms of their break-up for over two years since Jolie filed for divorce, and it looks like it won't be completely settled before the beginning of the new year. The main area of dispute is custody of their six children.
It appears that the couple is nearing the end of their legal battle, however. Recently, Jolie's attorney said, "A custody arrangement was agreed to weeks ago, and has been signed by both parties and the judge. The agreement, which is based on the recommendations of the child custody evaluator, eliminates the need for a trial."
No terms of a custody agreement have been made public. Since the couple has the private judge for another 12 months, he could oversee any continued negotiations regarding how to manage whatever custody arrangement they agree to.
Private judges are often used by high-profile couples to control what, if any, information gets out as they work through their divorce. Rather than going into courtrooms, they're able to meet in private law offices or other facilities where reporters and interested bystanders can't gain access. However, private judges, who are often retired, are obligated to follow the same laws as any judge hearing a divorce or custody case in a courtroom.
Custody battles can be complicated and painful, regardless of how much money and seemingly privilege a divorcing couple has. While both parents nearly always are seeking what they believe is in their children's best interests, that can be clouded by their opinion of their estranged spouse. If you're seeking a fair custody arrangement, whether you and your spouse are essentially in agreement on the terms or a judge will need to decide the matter, experienced legal guidance is essential.